The United Nations Conference On Climate Change, And The Resultant ' Paris Accord

2126 Words Dec 1st, 2016 9 Pages
The COP21 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, and the resultant ‘Paris accord’, is the latest attempt by the global community of states to address climate change. It has been described by some as ‘historic’ and a ‘landmark’, while others have been far more sceptical of its impact. I would like to take this conference as my object of analysis, and assess it as a site of Communicative Action. I outline how COP21 makes a few key presuppositions outlined by Habermas, including the notion of universal rational linguistic capabilities, the existence of a common world, and the equal rights of participants. Further, I suggest that these features of communicative action identified by Habermas have achieved a significant normative status, so that claims and challenges to legitimacy hinge on the adherence to them. Second, I assess the COP21 and the Paris accord through Habermas’ three validity claims of truth, normative rightness, and sincerity, as well as his principles of discourse ethics, and demonstrate how they form the basis of the operative ethos behind the conference and agreement. While the Paris accord lacks the legally binding requirements which would characterise a legitimate application of global deliberative democracy, its reliance on the sincerity of a promise to act, that is the reliance on normative rather than legal binding measures, offers us an interesting site on which to analyse communicative action. Let us first examine some key presuppositions…

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